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Friday, August 20, 2004  

Nocturnal Hunter

Strat's current most annoying habit is this: About half an hour after Trash and I turn off the light to go to sleep, he goes downstairs, "chases" one of his cat toys for a while, catches it, and loudly crows his victory. Apparently he hopes one of us will come down and congratulate him. Neither of us ever does. Because we are sleeping. Or at least we were.

Therefore, he must come to us. Picking up his vanquished foe between his teeth, he trots up the stairs to our bedroom, hollering loudly around whatever he's carrying. For some reason, having something in his mouth serves to make his meows even louder. I have to say, the cat toys didn't look like bullhorns when we bought them.

These announcements drown out the white noise of the window air conditioning unit and the oscillating fan. By the time he's made it up to our bedroom with his fresh kill, Trash and/or I are already asleep, or very nearly so. These public addresses of his almost always wake up at least one of us, and generally both, but never enough for either of us to get up and do anything about it. Most mornings, the rug next to our bed is littered with the carcasses of those cat toys who dared cross him the previous night. And the few nights when I've actually had the presence of mind to have the spray bottle on my night table, he behaved himself and therefore learned nothing. We give him injections of insulin twice each day in order to keep him alive. For this.

But he miscalculated last night.

Trash and I went to bed after one a.m. This is largely because I had had a decadent three-plus-hour nap in the afternoon. Getting to sleep carried little urgency for me. Trash, not having had a nap, dropped off right away. I lay mostly awake, in no real hurry to conk out.

Shortly before two, the Strat Show began.

The first amplified yowls drifted up from the living room just as consciousness began to drift away. I came to and listened to him for a while, hoping he wouldn't wake up Trash before he gave up and shut his yap. It was a vain hope, as I listened to the pitter-pat of his little paws leaving their imaginary bloody footprints up the carpet runner. His victorious cries filled the room as he waited for us to rise from our beds and shower him with love and praise for protecting us from the menace of the little stuffed mouse and the little stuffed mouse's little stuffed cheese.

So that's what I did.

Being awake now and not particularly tired, I recognized this night as an ideal opportunity to teach him a lesson. Without disturbing Trash, I got up, walked around the bed to where Strat was celebrating on the bedroom rug, told him he was a good cat, lay down next to him on the floor, wrapped him in an Iron Hug, and dropped off to sleep.

For those of you who don't have cats, an Iron Hug is when you wrap your arms around your little fuzzball and don't let him leave. You don't hurt him and you give him plenty of room to breathe. But it's effectively an indefinite judo hold on someone you outweigh fifteenfold and who doesn't have opposable thumbs, let alone matching judo skills. It's going to get pretty annoying for him after a minute or two, because a Great White Hunter like him has shit to do, okay?

Also, I wasn't actually asleep. I don't know if I fooled Strat on that count and I don't particularly care. All he knew is that one minute he was calling loudly for the praise that was rightly his, and the next he was locked, immobile, in the arms of a large bald monkey. And also the minute after that. And also about twenty more.

It shut him up, though. I dozed pleasantly while he gave a number of futile full-body jerks several minutes apart. When I got up and went to bed after twenty minutes, neither of us had a whole lot more to say on the matter.

We'll see if he learned his lesson tonight. If not, that's fine. I don't have anyplace to be in the morning.

Today's best search phrase: "Def Leppard personality quizzes who do i most resemble." I wouldn't worry about it. There's only a one-in-five chance that you're the dead one. And after that, only a one-in-four chance that you're the guy with one arm. Those are odds that anyone should be able to live with.

posted by M. Giant 7:44 PM 6 comments


At least Strat just drops his toys on the bedroom rug. Mephistocat has a tendency to bring them to me on the bed. I wake up with a fright in the middle of the night to a slightly damp mouse-toy on my arm, foot, etc. This is worse when he decides that playing with his toys as well as his food and water bowl is an especially good time.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 21, 2004 at 3:30 PM  

Ah, the midnight crazies. I remember them well.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 22, 2004 at 4:23 PM  

Hmm, I will have to try the Iron Hug on Hermione tonight. Her preferred midnight cat toy of late is our chins (she gnaws). Oh, how it itches!

By Blogger a Carrie, at August 23, 2004 at 8:06 AM  

At least your cat hunts normal, cat appealing, cat designated objects.
Mine? Not so much. Imagine being poked in the eye with a drinking straw at 2AM. Or finding a beer cap oddly stuck to your side from sleeping on it all night, because while it's really cool that the M will fetch them as good as any dog, she also brings them to you as nightly offerings. Women.
I'm also glad someone's given the Iron Hug a name, I've employed it many a morning when it's not time to get up yet.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 23, 2004 at 5:03 PM  

Another fun trick is to wrap some masking tape around the cat toy - with the sticky part out.

By Blogger Marissa, at August 24, 2004 at 9:30 AM  

Be glad yours just brings toys. One of Mom's cats once brought her a still-wriggling live mouse at about 3:00 am. The cat was extremely miffed to have her prey taken away and...er...disposed of.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 24, 2004 at 2:41 PM  

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